PHADA President Mark Gillett.
We know that the programs we administer are dependent on the support of our communities, residents, and elected officials, especially those who represent us in Congress. PHADA has always stressed that we need to continually demonstrate the value of our services to ensure that support is maintained. One of the ways we do this is through the PHADA Member Spotlight.
PHADA’s Member Spotlight provides an opportunity for you to highlight your agency’s achievements serving your residents through stories, videos, and policy examples. We want to highlight your successes and innovations so that more of your colleagues, HUD officials, media, and congressional staff will have an opportunity to learn about all the important work housing professionals are doing around the country.
An Example in Oklahoma City
I was recently talking with PHADA staff about an ongoing initiative in my city and they suggested we highlight it because it is a good illustration of the kinds of examples we want to promote.
The Oklahoma City Housing Authority and its residents are fortunate that we will benefit from a program supported by Oklahoma City voters and local officials. Originally called the “Metropolitan Area Projects” (MAPS) plan, it provides capital investments to improve the quality of life for city residents. The MAPS program is funded by a series of temporary penny sales taxes with targeted funds to be used for a unique and ambitious plan to help transform the community.
Oklahoma City, now in our fourth iteration of MAPS, chose to highlight sixteen projects and for the first time the projects included social service programs. MAPS 4 includes park improvements, senior and youth centers, transit improvements, and mental health and addiction centers. One MAPS 4 initiative that I am particularly excited about will significantly transform the city’s approach to reducing and eventually eliminating homelessness with a $55.7 million investment in affordable housing. The Oklahoma City Housing Authority was selected as the operator for this 10-year program.
The investment is accompanied by wraparound services from existing partners and will help the city continue a very successful “housing first” strategy. We expect that the initial $55 million will leverage roughly $400 million more from other sources.
The first MAPS 4 Homelessness allocation of $10.5 million contains several different affordable housing elements in the city’s MAPS plan. There will be roughly 200 units of permanent supportive housing (PSH) units serving individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. In addition, several hundred more of our public housing units will be renovated. This work is being conducted using both the RAD and Section 18 programs. Another project will replace 159 public housing units in a mixed income area.
An important piece of the first PSH project (75 units in a soon to be renovated motel) is a pilot project that implements a zero look back initiative with enhanced supporting services allowing us to house folk who would not otherwise qualify for subsidized housing due to a conviction history.
All these initiatives are in various stages of development and progress, but we are excited about the future prospects. For those interested in learning more about the Oklahoma City MAPs housing programs, please visit: https://maps4housing.org.
Again, I encourage you to share your stories with PHADA’s Washington staff for inclusion in this publication and on our website. Send all submissions to Blake Stenning, Director of Communications, at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.